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From intern to employee: Developing a personalized learning experience into a career
MA in History
“My confidence grew from my experience at Brockport. I became a better writer and gained experience in research.”
In pursuit of a graduate education that aligned with his innate passion for history, Paul Constantine was drawn to SUNY Brockport’s master’s program in history in 2011. The Malta, NY, native had been working for an industrial manufacturing company for several years after earning his bachelor’s degree in business economics from SUNY Oneonta in 1990. “An opportunity presented itself in which I was able to take a step back, leave my old job, and pursue a new career path,” he said. A thirst for new opportunities, coupled with earning his graduate degree, set the foundation for Paul’s success in his current role at Genesee Brewing Company in Rochester, NY.
Like many students, Paul gained exposure to his present work environment through an internship opportunity that presented itself while he was still enrolled in the master’s program. Paul was offered two internships during his second semester in the program – one at the Rochester Historical Society and the other at Genesee Brewing Company. He decided to take both as they both fit his interests.
While working as an intern for Genesee, Paul put together content for a museum section of what would become the Brew House. His excitement surrounding the conception of the museum, as well as his long-lived adoration for home brewing, made the position all the more fun and interesting.
Paul’s impressive performance as an intern led him to be recruited as a full-time retail manager and Brew House curator upon earning his MA in History in 2012. His current responsibilities include managing day-to-day retail operations, museum oversight, and functioning as Genesee’s unofficial historian. Interacting with visitors and talking with them about the history, brewing process and beer in general all make his job satisfying. After having spent years longing for a more satisfying career, Paul finally feels that he’s discovered his ideal professional fit. “I feel like I landed on my feet here and the company is headed for great things.”
As for how he got there, Paul credits much of his professional success to his involvement at SUNY Brockport. “My experience was more rewarding than I dreamed it could have been. I learned the importance of thinking critically. My self-confidence grew immensely and quickly. This was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” he claimed. By the time he graduated, Paul felt that his Brockport education had equipped him for handling the new, significant responsibilities that he would take on at Genesee. However, he wasn’t always as confident.
“It had been almost 20 years since I had been in a classroom, and even though I had always had a sharp interest in history in general, frankly most of my classmates were more well-read than I. At first, I was afraid I was in over my head.” However, with the support of students and faculty, it wasn’t long before Paul settled into the routine of engaging in active classes. His confidence grew once he realized that his contributions to thoughtful class discussions were valued by others, and that the combination of writing- and discussion-based curriculum would quickly sharpen his communication skills. Best of all, he found his niche when it came to research, a skill that has made him an asset to the Genesee team.
Paul’s future plans include spending ample time with his wife, stepchildren, and parents, as well as remaining a key player in Brew House operations for years to come. He won’t soon forget the value of the path that he chose to make that possible. “Attending Brockport was the most rewarding experience I have ever had. The personal growth I experienced was even more than I hoped for.”